There are almost as many design and applied arts programs as there are student interests. This variety of options means a variety of application requirements, since international students can study design and applied arts at the university, community college or private career college level. Some schools have limited-enrollment programs with competitive admission, others offer open admission on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, entrance requirements can vary depending on the school and the program.

Admission to undergraduate university design and applied arts degrees is typically competitive and admission is granted based on portfolio assessment, academic requirements and personal qualities. Portfolio requirements vary depending on the program and the school, but usually include between 7 and 15 works.

Academically, international students must have completed Grade 12 with a certain grade (generally around 65-70%) in each of the required courses, which typically include English. Other courses may also be required, depending on the specific program. Some design and applied arts schools have quota programs, where the pool of applicants exceeds the number of available spaces. A student's overall academic average or Grade Point Average (GPA) is also considered, and the competitive GPA can change from year to year depending on the quality of the applicant pool and the number of places available. Additional potential requirements include reference letters, questionnaire, current résumé, proof of English proficiency, personal essay or letter of intent. Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) may be recognized by some schools. International students enter most bachelor's programs in design and applied arts directly from high school and should apply directly to the institute. The application also usually includes a non-refundable application fee of anywhere between $25-100, as specified by the institution as well as official high school transcripts and translations, where necessary. Intake is normally in September and January, but international students are advised to apply early for the more competitive programs.

Community colleges generally offer open admission in which students are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. However, admission to most community college design and applied arts programs also require Grade 12 completion with satisfactory standing in specific courses such as English. Career colleges differ in that some offer continuous enrolment with programs starting every month; others operate on a more traditional semester system with a fall and/ or winter intake. Many career colleges therefore have no cut-off dates for admission and instead process international and other applications all year round. Other career colleges have specific deadlines after which applications are no longer considered. Both community colleges and career colleges with internal scholarships and bursaries may encourage early application in order to qualify for these awards and financial assistance. Application again consists of an official application form, a fee, transcripts, and any of the additional requirements mentioned above.

If you are an international student considering applying to a design or applied arts program in Canada at any level, be sure to check out the website for the specific university, college or school, or contact the institution's Admissions or Registrar's Office, for all the details on application and admission.